The Real Winners and Losers From WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Match Card

Kevin BergeJanuary 29, 2023

The Real Winners and Losers From WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Match Card

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    Cody Rhodes came back and accomplished his mission, winning the men's Rumble match to earn his shot at the WWE title.
    Cody Rhodes came back and accomplished his mission, winning the men's Rumble match to earn his shot at the WWE title.Credit:

    WWE delivered a huge show with the 2023 Royal Rumble. In particular, the company established two fresh world title challengers in Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley.

    The American Nightmare entered at the No. 30 spot and took down Gunther to pick up the most important win of his WWE career.

    Ripley ran the field from No. 1 to the finish in the women's match, last eliminating Asuka and Liv Morgan.

    Outside of those contest, only the main event stood out. Alexa Bliss was quickly defeated by Bianca Belair, and Bray Wyatt ran over LA Knight in a silly Mountain Dew Pitch Black match.

    When it was all said and done, the final story of the night was Sami Zayn. After Roman Reigns stood tall over Kevin Owens, The Honorary Uce blasted The Head of the Table with a steel chair and was beat down for it by The Bloodline.

    It was a night of big moments that ended with an impactful story coming to a head. The following were the biggest winners and losers from the 2023 Royal Rumble.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

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    Obviously, any man who wins the Royal Rumble is a huge victor, earning a guaranteed big match at WrestleMania, but this was an especially precarious situation for Cody Rhodes.

    WWE fans will often go into these contests assuming someone should win, and it can hamper the actual winner. Many were calling for Sami Zayn to pick up the win so that he could face Roman Reigns one-on-one at The Show of Shows.

    Thanks to smart booking, though, Rhodes walked into this match as the fan favorite and left as the crowd's hero. By putting the men's match on first, it made sense that Zayn would not even be in it as he was focused on Reigns vs. Kevin Owens later.

    The final stretch with The American Nightmare and Gunther was especially good, and it sold that Rhodes was ready to wrestle at the highest level against The Head of the Table soon.

    WWE has done everything to make Rhodes feel unstoppable in his journey to the WWE Championship, and it is nearly complete.

Winner: Gunther

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    Gunther has been the MVP of SmackDown recently, but he has never had a bigger moment on the main roster than his work on Saturday night.

    The Ring General broke the record for the longest run in the men's Rumble match. He also had one of the best final two segments in the history of the event, putting on a mini-match with Cody Rhodes.

    While The American Nightmare walked out the winner, Gunther looked like a dominant force and someone who would have won if he hadn't been the first entrant in the match against the much fresher competitor.

    As intercontinental champion, he should have a major role at WrestleMania 39, and this run has sold that forthcoming match as a special one.

    Whether he faces Sheamus, Drew McIntyre or another big name, Gunther has gotten a big push and gained the credibility necessary to have one of the best matches on April 1-2.

Losers: Those Who Pitched the Pitch Black Match

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    For those who were able to see Bray Wyatt and LA Knight wrestle, they had a heated sprint that ended with the right man winning. However, the Mountain Dew Pitch Black stipulation distracted from all the action.

    The contest was also hurt by post-match nonsense as Uncle Howdy missed an elbow drop on Knight. It was all too much style over any substance.

    Wyatt put so much time into building up this moment, yet it did not amount to much. It is still difficult to figure out what he is trying to do with this story.

    While Wyatt and Knight did enough to keep getting pushed, the creative direction needs some adjustment to avoid matches like this where the crowd is blind to the action.

Loser: Alexa Bliss

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    Alexa Bliss walked into her match with Bianca Belair as a real contender, but she left on her back and focused on supernatural silliness. While The Goddess can do more, she lost in less than eight minutes in a one-sided fight.

    As questions remain about what Bray Wyatt is doing in WWE, The Goddess looks to be out of the title scene and playing a role in a story moving in slow motion.

    Bliss did not need to win this match, but she should have had more than a bland television performance against The EST of WWE.

    Belair will likely move onto a rivalry with Rhea Ripley. Even if that does not happen, there are plenty of other interesting female challengers for her.

    Meanwhile, Bliss just looks more lost than ever.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

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    Even though Rhea Ripley was a favorite going into the women's Rumble match, she walked into it at No. 1. The odds were against her, but she went the distance.

    The Eradicator won as the first entrant, becoming the first woman to do so. She also broke the record for the longest run in the women's Rumble. She even had the most eliminations in the match at seven.

    It was a complete performance from Ripley. She reached the next level, and it is hard to see her going back down.

    The Australian has been the highlight of The Judgment Day and one of Raw's best performers in recent memory.

    It will be great to see Ripley take that final step and win her first Raw or SmackDown Women's Championship.

Winner: Sami Zayn

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    While Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens was an anticipated match, what everyone was truly ready to see was what role Sami Zayn would play.

    After everything was said and done, The Honorary Uce could not hurt KO, and he turned his back on The Bloodline. He was also seemingly supported by Jey Uso, who walked out in the moment.

    This was a big moment that continues the best story in wrestling. Zayn has made the most of every opportunity, and he was the biggest babyface in the arena on a night when he didn't even wrestle.

    It looks like Zayn will soon collide with Reigns in a one-on-one match. The Honorary Uce has never won a world title, but he has earned that spot in these last few months.

    It was never supposed to go this far, but Zayn has made the most of every moment. He is ready for the spotlight. He deserves it.